Our biggest surprise - Laura's story

Laura's Story Hero

Laura found out her daughter wasn't growing enough, and at 34 weeks she had an emergency c-section - only to discover her baby was actually a boy.

After years of trying to conceive, we were over the moon to find out I was pregnant just before Christmas 2016. It was the best Christmas present ever.

For a long time, my pregnancy was going smoothly – I didn’t even have any morning sickness. We had a private scan at 16 weeks and were told that we were expecting a girl.

At 28 weeks I had a Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) to test for gestational diabetes and unfortunately it came back positive. I was assured that this was common and that I could manage it with my diet. A growth scan was arranged because gestational diabetes could result in me having a large baby.

The results of the growth scan actually showed that our princess wasn’t growing enough and she was in a breech position. I was reviewed again at 30 weeks and it was decided I would be admitted for steroid injections. In the meantime, I was being scanned twice a week to monitor blood flow and my waters. At 32 weeks, it appeared that my waters had reduced and I was readmitted for monitoring. Our baby was kicking well and her movements were fine, therefore the decision was made to wait until 34 weeks and see how things were doing.

At 34 weeks, it appeared that my waters had reduced further and so a c-section was scheduled. We prepared for our princess’ early arrival and purchased premature clothing for our daughter.

The surgery did not go well because my spinal block began to wear off. I requested not to be put under general anaesthetic until after our little girl was delivered. To our great surprise, the doctors did not deliver a little princess – the baby was actually a prince!

When I came round from the surgery, I was told that our little boy had been taken to the neonatal unit and that I had haemorrhaged after being put under general anaesthetic. My husband and parents went to visit our little man but I wasn’t allowed to go with them because I had lost too much blood.

I was devastated – I couldn’t see my son and I still couldn’t quite believe that I hadn’t had a girl. We had picked out the name Olivia for this baby and had bought girls clothes, decorated the nursery with pink, and spelt her name out on the wall. We felt like we had lost a child after preparing for a girl for eight months and because the son we had was so poorly that neither of us had even held him yet.

After 24 hours, I finally went to see our little miracle. He lay there splayed legs, ventilated and generally looking unwell. I couldn’t bring myself to take any photos of him because I was still upset at just how ill he looked. He had a nurse sat next to him manually changing his oxygen to ensure he was getting what he needed.

The consultant came over to speak with us and said our son had sepsis and was struggling without breathing support.

When our son was four days old I was able to hold him for the first time. The following day, the consultant informed us that his infection was actually pneumonia and although this was a worse diagnosis, the antibiotics had started to work. He also had some mottling on his skin so was tested for meningitis which thankfully came back negative.

The next day, we went into NICU and our little man had turned a corner. He had been reduced from a ventilator to a bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machine, then to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) overnight and was being reduced off drips. He was also finally starting to have some expressed milk through his nasogastric (NG) tube. We felt enormously relieved and had started to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

After we got back from lunch, he was on hi-flow. We were totally over the moon with the great bounds he had made in just a few hours.

Our son continued to make good progress and was out of his incubator and able to be in baby clothes when he was a week old. It was at this point that my husband finally got to hold his little man. We decided that our little guy now needed a name and we chose to call him Jack.

Now that Jack was in a cot I was able to breastfeed him which was a great relief after having to express milk all day and night. Jack fed straight away and it was decided that I would stay with him to continue to exclusively feed. By nine days old, his infection was gone and he was feeding well.

All the consultants were amazed at how quickly Jack recovered. Jack was finally discharged at 10 days old and continues to thrive.

Being a preemie parent is a very unique experience that not many people will ever understand. We are so incredibly proud of how far Jack has come and can’t wait to see what the future holds for him.

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